Monday, June 30, 2008

European Cup Craze : Who Supports Whom in the Caucasus?

Given the recent craze over UEFA football and the large number of diehard football fans across the Caucasus, I think the question about the politics of support is worth addressing. It can provide interesting insights into both cultural and political affinities -- much like Eurovision support -- except with a different demographic. We have limited information here, so the blog cries out for help!

Georgians, the titan of South Caucasus football, will only support teams with a tried and true record of success, according to one colleague who is a football maven. This means that Georgians generally support Germany. The historical connections and affinities also play an important role here.

But what about Russia facing off against Spain? Here the jury is more mixed. According to one Georgian television poll (which isn't the best source but it's all we have), 45% of Georgians supported Russian in the Russia-Spain game. If true, this like our Data Initiative data, shows that Georgians are still very open to Russians, though they may have strong feelings against the Russian Government.

As for Azerbaijan, the picture is clear. It's Turkey all the way (see picture above taken in Baku). But what happens when Turkey loses to Spain? I don't have the answer, but I encourage our Azerbaijani readers to chime in.

Armenians, well, I don't have any info here. Please comment.


Katy said...

Walter went to the game last night at a bar and he said 90% of Armenians were supporting Spain.

Anonymous said...

Depends on the bar and segment of Armenians attending. There's of course a pro-Western segment of society here, but the vast majority are still firmly pro-Russian.

For example, a Lebanese-Armenian friend says he was angry at the fact Armenians were supporting Russia in the football just because. This even amounted top singing the Armenian national anthem in support of Russia.

This pissed him off the most.